Forensic scientist, alumna to speak at Fredonia Writers@Work residency

Roger Coda
Dr. Lori Ana Valentin

SUNY Fredonia alumna Dr. Lori Ana Valentin.

Forensic scientist Dr. Lori Ann Valentin, who earned a B.S. in Biochemistry from SUNY Fredonia in 2009, will return to campus for a two-day residency, “My Radiant Journey: Service through Science – A Chemist’s Perspective,” on Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 7 and 8.

Writers@Work is an alumni writers-in-residence series featuring both well-established and emerging writers, editors and publishers in a range of professional and creative genres who meet with students and interested community members. It brings attention to the diverse ways writing and the humanities make a difference in the world.

The residency has been collaboratively organized by Writers@Work with the departments of Biology, Chemistry and Psychology, the FREDwell Lounge, Honors Program, Intercultural Center and Keeper of the Dream Scholarship and Leadership Program.

Dr. Valentín looks forward to connecting with Fredonia students in meaningful ways during her residency.

“As a minority woman in STEM, I understand how important representation is. I want to serve as a role model and supporter that I had always envisioned when I was a student.” - Dr. Lori Ana Valentín

“As a minority woman in STEM, I understand how important representation is. I want to serve as a role model and supporter that I had always envisioned when I was a student,” Valentín said. “It’s really important to me to serve as that representative model and provide students with those resources and tools that aided me in my journey.

“By being transparent about my journey and the challenges I faced, hopefully they can see how to navigate their own,” Valentin said.

The residency will open with “Focus on Forensics: Doing the Science & Communicating the Results through Writing,” on Monday, from 2 to 3:30 p.m., in Science Center Room 126. On the importance of writing, Valentín said, “Writing skills are critical for effective communication, especially in science, which relies heavily on communicating results through journal publications.”   

The talk, hosted by the Department of Biology, is open to students in-person and can be livestreamed by the public.

Fredonia’s Career Development Office will host Valentin’s presentation, “Translating Your Story from the Classroom: To Internships & Beyond,” on Monday, from 7 to 8 p.m., in Williams Center Room S204. “Your writing introduces you before you enter the room. Writing is a tool to advocate for yourself,” Valentin said.

The presentation is open to students and the public in-person and will also be livestreamed.

“Resilience-Building Workshop: Self-Care through the Pandemic and Beyond” will be presented by Valentin on Tuesday, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., in Williams Center Room S204.

“This workshop is going to deliver tangible resources and approaches that students can use to navigate their challenges and also gain new skills to empower them to address future challenges,” Valentín said. “They should walk away with confidence, with tools to fight imposter syndrome, and with new skills that they can apply to be kinder to themselves.” 

Hosts of the workshop include the Intercultural Center, FREDwell Lounge, Honors Program and Writers@Work. It will be open to students and the public in-person and will also be livestreamed.

During the residency, Valentín will also offer by-invitation career consultations with current students. Email Dr. Natalie Gerber for more information.

All Writers@Work events are free. Facial coverings are required in all indoor settings. While most are planned to be in-person, please confirm event status, and/or access livestream Zoom links, and to view the full schedule of events in this residency, visit Events@Fredonia.

A Keeper of the Dream scholar, Valentín presents herself as a person who is “dedicated to service through science.” She explains, “that description encapsulates everything I do – from my work with the [New York] State Police, in higher education, through the American Chemical Society, mentorship and in my service to the community.”

When asked how SUNY Fredonia helped to start Valentin on her career path, she replied, “The planting of the ‘service seed’ started at Fredonia through my involvement in the Keeper of the Dream Scholarship and Leadership Program, outreach work through the Chemistry Club, tutoring at the Tutoring Center and working as an ESL tutor in Dunkirk while I was a student.

“Having those opportunities really broadened my perspective in terms of the scope of the service I gave to my community,” Valentin said.

Valentín, who holds a doctoral degree in chemistry from Binghamton University, is a forensic scientist at the New York State Police Forensic Investigation Center in Albany. She began her work in forensics in 2015. Valentin was assigned to the seized drugs section where she analyzed hundreds of evidentiary items for the presence of controlled substances in local, state and federal criminal cases.

In 2018, Valentín was promoted to a lab management role in the quality assurance office where she supports the crime laboratory system in maintaining a robust, quality management system. In 2020, she created the first forensic virtual internship through a collaboration with the University at Albany. In her current role, she manages the internship program and leads learning and development, community outreach and organizational health and wellness.

Dedicated to outreach, Valentín is the 2022 Chair of the Eastern New York section of the American Chemical Society (ACS) and serves on its Education and Women Chemists committees. In 2021 she founded the organization Radiant Journey, which delivers customized resilience-building programs to scientists and engineers in academia, government and industry. 

This Writers@Work residency is sponsored by the Biology Endowment Fund, Career Development Office, Carnahan Jackson Fund for the Humanities of the Fredonia College Foundation, Faculty Student Association, Fredonia Alumni Association, Fredonia College Foundation, Fredonia Honors Program, Intercultural Center and Keeper of the Dream Scholarship and Leadership Program.

The series is made possible by a partnership with Admissions, Alumni Affairs, the Career Development Office, Fredonia College Foundation, Fredonia Honors Program, School of Business and the departments of Communication and English.

The Valentin residency is made possible by a partnership with the departments of Biology, Chemistry and Psychology, FREDwell Lounge, Intercultural Center and Keeper of the Dream Scholarship and Leadership Program.

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